Sunday, September 23, 2018

New Beginnings

After a long search and a few let downs I'm so excited to shout about the new space we've finally found...

It was a random find which in our work is always the best kind and as soon as we walked through the door we just knew this was where we're supposed to be..
Now the real hard work begins, we have a blank canvas to make our own and my mind is travelling at a mile a minute deciding in what direction to take the business. 

One of the most important boxes the search for a new space needed to tick was to have a physical storefront/showroom.

The other requirement we had was ground level loading, sounds simple enough, but having spent the past 5 or so years being on a mid level and needing to negotiate a flight of stairs this will be a huge luxury...

We're staying in beautiful St Albert, Alberta and plan to be open by mid October. Our online shop will continue as normal but sometimes you need to just physically see stuff and we can't wait to have you over, grab a coffee and show you our latest acquisitions.. 

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Buy what you like..

The past couple of weeks at our place have been a little crazy, in a good way mind you, busy and productive.
The main reason for our extreme busyness was the preparation of our first Canadian Antiques show and then the actual event which I am delighted to say was a huge success for us. Sure we made sales which is always great but so much more importantly we met so many wonderful people that weekend and rather excitingly a couple of those we met have already become very good clients.

Preparation time    
Set up day at the show

 Like the majority of antique dealers I am passionate about what I buy, what I mean by that is basically when at all possible I only buy what I like which to be honest is the majority of the time and luckily for me my tastes do change as styles come and go..
 Not the best business logic I know, however my reasoning behind it has always been this.
  When a client approaches me to buy something, I have to be absolutely confident and enthusiastic about the piece, then usually my enthusiasm spills over to the client.
 If I'm not 100% happy with a something I will normally manage to undersell it or it will live with me for a while.

I was reminded of this during the antique show. A fabulously dressed older lady walked into my booth and headed directly to a wonderful oriental tea table I was showing. She and I both immediately knew she loved it and wanted it, later she told me that at this time she had no idea where in her amazingly decorated apartment (and that's a whole other story) she would put it. She sat in my booth for around half an hour contemplating where and if it would fit in.
Needless to say she purchased the table and I was fortunate enough to have the privilege of placing the table in it's new home and seeing it displayed how it should be.
This wonderful lady has very quickly become a valued client and each time we're in contact she mentions how much she loves the table.

That to me means so much more than just a sale and I'm sure there's moral in this story somewhere...

If you would like to see a small selection of our inventory please check out

Thursday, April 9, 2015

Show time !!

So today I began the preparation for my forth coming antiques show. Although I've exhibited at most of the biggest antique shows and markets across Europe this will be the first time in Canada.
 It was a last minute decision to exhibit as its just a week away and I normally allow myself a little more time to carefully select pieces, so now I'm busy deciding what inventory to take.
 When I make this decision I try and base it on a number of factors.
 Firstly and most obviously the inventory I currently have available to me, which I'm pleased to say is quite substantial at present !!
 Another is the time of year and what is in vogue right now, also what I think people will be looking to furnish with over the next 12 months.
 I always try to be original and enjoy showing a little of the unexpected, mixing pieces from different eras and themes to create interest, ideas and inspiration. 
  We have only taken a small booth this time so I need to maximise every little bit of space without making the it look cluttered and unapproachable.
 My first job today will be to replicate the empty booth in my work space and start designing it and I'm excited to get going..
 So what are your current favorite ways to display antiques and use decorating styles , I would be really interested to know ?

My replica booth, a blank canvas..  Let the designing fun commence !!
Come see us and many others !!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Its all in the detail..

A little while ago a client called me over to his home to take a look at chair he'd picked up during his travels in Europe. It was a great looking piece but was very unstable and had been heavily coated in a toffee like lacquer that covered the beautiful aged colours of the wood (patina). 

The seat was torn and the original horsehair stuffing needed replacing.

We removed the heavy toffee like coating by dissolving the finish rather than stripping or sanding as not to damage the surface of the wood that has taken year to develop its rich patina.   

Once the finish was all removed we were able to repolish with several coats of a good quality clear shellac finish we blend ourselves, once dry we then began work on the upholstery.

After we had packed the new horsehair cushion we were then able to add the final upholstery fabric the client had selected. 

The final process was to buff the chair frame with a fine clear wax to give the shellac added protection and remove any lint or horsehair fragments from the upholstery.

This is just one of the many restoration projects we carry out for our clients on a regular basis. Please email us if you have a piece of furniture you would like restored and would like a quote.                                                                                                              

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

With my passion of practically anything old, slightly decorative or incredibly unusual,  large or small, heavy or not, I thoroughly enjoy re-purposing, finding something interesting from the past and then envisioning what practical use it could possibly have in this day and age.
I also take great pleasure in seeing the same thing happening to buildings. Maybe an old dilapidated farm building being painstakingly converted into a livable space, or even an empty theater being transformed into a place of worship. 
All this brings me nicely onto the subject of my latest ramblings. My workspace...

So I have been very fortunate to find myself the coolest of places to carry out my business. I work from the upper level of a once movie theater that's now a church, the level I work from  was originally the area that held 12 projectors each with their own adjacent  projection windows.. My main showroom area was once the movie splicing room. 
I'm delighted with the space I have and I feel I'm gradually putting my own mark on it and making it a comfortable easy place to be.  
 As I sell mainly online or over the phone I only have clients by appointment. Although I have to confess to the amount of amusement it gives me, meeting my clients outside in the parking lot a short distance from my workspace, then guiding them through a maize of corridors and down flights of stairs.  The confused but relieved look on their faces when they finally find themselves slightly out of breath but deep amongst my eclectic array of stock.  

 Oh and if your near enough, and enjoy a short brisk walk to our space and are interested in viewing any pieces you see here, please email us .

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Looking Forward...

 The past 4 years has been an endless episode of planning and replanning for my business arrival into in Canada that is now slowly starting to all come together.
  It's a little nerve wrecking because I absolutely need to succeed... I have to succeed... Obviously there is a huge financial aspect to all this, but putting that aside this trade has been my passion and livelihood for the last 25+ years.
During the time I've been patiently (and sometimes not so patiently) waiting for the authorities to give me the green light to go I've been selectively collecting and gathering things I like, and more often than not love.. Each day I've polished, cleaned and sometimes just left well alone, occasionally I've even lived with a piece for a while...
 As an antiques dealer I feel it's a privilege that my chosen path gives me the ability to move on historical, vintage and just downright fabulous items from one person to another. I'm just the lucky guy standing in the middle happily having the opportunity to see, touch and sometimes preserve the items before they find their new owners.
So there it is in a nutshell, I'm having a lifetime love affair with everything antique, vintage or just plain stylish and I don't ever wanna break up !! 

A 1930's Chinoiserie style wall mirror. $325
A 1960's polished steel 4 drawer filing cabinet $695 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Little History About Chest of Drawers

Next time you grab clothes from your dresser or chest of drawers (depending on what part of the world your reading this) just stop for a minute and take a closer look at this great but very simple design feat.

The humble chest of drawers  has evolved over many 100's of years. Its beginnings date back to Europe from as early as the 10th century. Starting life as a simple peg jointed box fitted with a thick plank top and held together by crudely made iron hinges. The English term for these chests were "Coffers". 

A 16th Century Oak Coffer
As the years passed coffers were made more ornate depending on the persons wealth and stature until around the early 17th century when a simple drawer construction began to appear at the base of the coffer, these were then commonly known as “Mule Chests”

 An Oak Mule Chest dating from 1700

Gradually after this time more and more drawers started to appear in chests giving us a very basic example of the chest of drawers we see and use today. The 18th and 19th centuries saw a huge progression in furniture production in Europe and chests of drawers were made grander and from fine woods even some lavishly inlaid with rare exotic woods. These chest became almost a status symbol of the time.

A fine 19th century chest veneered in oysterwood 

An English Chippendale Chinoiserie Chest on Chest circa 1830, offered by 

A Swedish Rococo period chest circa 1750, Offered by

Heading into the 20th century chest of drawers began to become massed produced throughout Europe and the world. Although some of the finer quality models were still made in good mahogany and walnut the majority were built on a production line from thin pine or softwood carcasses then veneered in cheaper mahogany, some low cost English chests were even painted to simulate veneers, these recently have become quite sought after as the majority were stripped of their painted finish and polished to pine.

A Painted pine chest of drawer dating from around 1890

A widely produced mahogany veneered chest of drawers dating from around 1890

Today our chests of drawers generally find themselves tucked in the bedroom, but really a handsome chest of drawers looks great in any room.. Give it a try !!

A Scottish Mahogany chest of drawers offered by Northgate Gallery Inc